Pumpkins and Oktoberfest Beers: Wolaver’s Pumpkin Ale

November 2, 2012 at 2:35 AM (Beer) (, , , , )

Otter Creek Brewing, beerBeer: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Wolaver’s Organic Brewing
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.8%
Where I Got It: Coolidge Corner Wine & Spirits, Brookline
What I Thought of It: Solid. I generally prefer the darker, heavier beers, especially when it comes to pumpkin, but this guy had a nice balance of pumpkin (all from Vermont) and “spices.” Rarely do I ever see the actual spices listed on the label, but I got some cinnamon and a touch of clove. I could also just be craving pie right now. While this isn’t a deciding factor for me, it’s also USDA certified organic. Not bad, but not the most exciting beer of the season.

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Pumpkins and Oktoberfest Beers: Samuel Adams Fat Jack

September 18, 2012 at 2:03 AM (Beer) (, , , , , )

By Boston Beer CompanyBeer: Fat Jack
Brewery: Samuel Adams
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Where I Got It: Coolidge Corner Wine & Spirits, Brookline
What I Thought of It: Sam Adams Fat Jack, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. When I talk about how much I enjoy pumpkin beers, this is what I’m talking about. As the folks at Boston Beer Co. share, 28+ pounds of pumpkin per barrel along with “classic pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice” are brewed together (with the regular beer stuff) to bless us with pumpkin pie in a bottle. Flavorful and warming – the em-bottle-ment of my favorite time of year. Go buy some! Next time I’ll definitely have to try it with the cinnamon-sugar rim.

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Pumpkins and Oktoberfest Beers: Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat

September 3, 2012 at 5:41 PM (Beer) (, , , , )

beerBeer: Pumpkin Wheat
Brewery: Shock Top
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.2%
Where I Got It: Paddy O’s, Boston
What I Thought of It: Not all pumpkin beers have to fill you up after one serving. As a wheat beer, Pumpkin Wheat was a nice choice on a somewhat toasty day in late August. Light and refreshing, but still sated the pumpkin craving. Added bonus: it’s served with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar! Unfortunately as the head dissolved, the garnish sank to the bottom of the glass (stick to the edge of the glass, kids), but I’m still counting it as a win. Generally I prefer the darker brews, but for a wheat (and an Anheuser Busch at that), I’d consider ordering it again if it’s 90 degrees outside.

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Pumpkins and Oktoberfest Beers: Harpoon Pumpkin Cider

August 28, 2012 at 12:52 AM (Uncategorized) (, , )

It’s the most magical time of year, friends: autumnal beer season! We all know I’ll try [almost] any beer once, but the brews of September through November are the ones I’ll try again and again… and again. This year I figured I’d catalog the deliciousness for both your and my enjoyment. With a new idea, we’ll start with a new beer… Harpoon Pumpkin Cider. Read on!

Image, beerBeer: Pumpkin Cider
Brewery:
Harpoon Brewery
Style: Spiced Cider
ABV: 4.8%
Where I Had It: Sunset Grill & Tap
What I Thought of It: A perfect transition beer for summer to autumn.You can certainly taste pumpkin, but it doesn’t overwhelm the crispness of a harvest cider. I admit, I was skeptical at first: while I love both pumpkin and apple pies, the thought of the two together just didn’t seem like a good idea. However, I was lucky enough to find myself at Sunset the day Harpoon sent their monthly newsletter announcing its inaugural release. Naturally I had to give it a try. I’m glad I did!

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Winners from Beer Summit’s Winter Jubilee

January 22, 2012 at 7:13 PM (Events, Food, Happenings) (, , , , , , )

Yesterday was a magical day filled with lots and lots of beer, thanks to Beer Summit: Winter Jubilee. I’ve been to a couple summits in previous years and of course find new, interesting things at every one. The Jubilee, however, seemed to be a special treat: I have never had so many delicious beers at once. Great job, brewers! That said, a couple brews stood out that I’d like to share so that you can taste and enjoy, as well.

dark winter aleBrewery Ommegang Adoration If there was a “Best of Jubilee Award,” Adoration deserved it, hands down. I love Belgian dark strong ales, and – I can’t help myself here – I adored Adoration. It was the perfect beer to warm you up on a cold winter’s day, with the perfect blend of coriander, cumin, mace, cardamom and grains of paradise. Ales like Adoration make me tolerate all the crappiness that can accompany a New England winter.

Long Trail Double Bag I actually wouldn’t have gone to Long Trail’s booth had my friend not insisted we go. It’s not that I don’t like Long Trail – I’d just never had it and had other breweries I wanted to visit. But, not being one to turn down something new, I gave it a shot. Double Bag is another strong ale with a notable alcohol content (7.2 percent abv) that you don’t notice when you’re drinking it. Good for drinking at home without having any plans to go outside.

beer, Sam AdamsSamuel Adams Whitewater IPA The kids at Sam Adams hold a special place in my heart because the first beers I really started drinking were the Boston Lager and the Octoberfest. If you’re friends with me on Untappd, you’ll see that I still drink more Sam than anything else. It’s a brand loyalty thing. Anyhoo, back to Whitewater IPA. I’m actually not crazy about IPAs and usually lean toward maltier beers, but there were apricot notes that softened this beer enough for me to drink and even enjoy. Well done, Jim and co.

Staropramen Premium Lager Holy yummy, Batman. Owned by Spaten, who also makes my beloved Franziskaner and of course, Spaten Premium Lager, this is simply a very solid lager. Nicely balanced, it goes down easy and may be the lightest beer on this list (but don’t you dare confuse this with a light beer). In short, it’s just a bottle of satisfaction. I might even suggest it to my dad, the world’s pickiest beer drinker.

My only regret about Jubilee is that I didn’t make it to all the booths I wanted. I missed out on Notch, Backlash, Peak Organic and some other great breweries, but on the bright side I tried some new stuff, too. And really, isn’t that the best part of a beer summit?

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Reblog: Untappd: Foursquare for Beer. Yes.

September 4, 2011 at 2:01 PM (Food) (, , , , )

This post originally appeared on my agency’s blog, RaceTalk.

If you know me personally, you can skip to the next paragraph. If not, finish this one: Hi, I’m Brittany. I love beer and location-based social media. If I found anything that married the two, I would consider marrying it.

One of the reasons why I was most excited about finally getting a smartphone – aside from no longer having to make excuses along the lines of “Sorry, my phone rides the short bus” – was all the applications and bookmarked mobile sites that would inevitably accompany it. I of course anticipated the usual suspects – Twitter, Foursquare, Angry Birds, Words with Friends – you know, all those little megabytes that have become all but staples of our livelihood. What thrilled me even more was the thought of perhaps the most magical, albeit less mainstream, mobile site to grace the lives of social beer-drinkers the digital world over: Untappd. Haven’t heard of it? Read on.

Untapped: think Foursquare for beer.

I first heard about Untappd via the Twittersphere many months ago. Being an avid consumer of beer, the prospect of being able to check into which one I was drinking sounded nothing short of incredible – especially when you go to as many beer fests as I do, and keeping track after the eighth sample can get tricky. Untappd lets you track what you’re drinking, where you’re drinking it, and what you think of it.

After that first glorious (sometimes not-so-glorious) sip, visit m.untappd.com and search for whatever it is you have in your hand. Find it – or add it – add your two cents, and check in. Simple, but that’s the beauty of it. Like many Bostonians, while I do have a few go-tos, I really love trying different brews, and I only have so much brain space dedicated to beer. Untappd is turning into my handy little Rolodex of draughts and bottles and making some recommendations at the same time based off my check-ins (although I haven’t tested that out yet – has anyone who can share their thoughts?). Like Foursquare, it also lets me keep tabs (pun unavoidable) on my beer-inclined friends to see what they’re drinking. Possibly even more fun, I earn badges (also like Foursquare) for my drinking habits, which serve no purpose other than bragging rights (and perhaps a VIP pass for an AA meeting).

Have you tried Untappd yet? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!

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A Note to Tavistock

September 1, 2011 at 1:45 AM (Food) (, )

Dear Tavistock,

Congrats on the purchase of Back Bay Restaurant Group, and as a result and more importantly, my beloved Atlantic Fish. A piece of advice from a regular, if I may: consult the bar manager (Joe, in case you’re not familiar) about which beers to order. I suggest this specifically in response to the revelation that my treasured watering hole now carries Beck’s.

Beck’s? Who drinks Beck’s? Joe will direct your booze budget toward something way more profitable.

Best of luck with the latest addition to the Tavistock family.

Sincerely, Brittany

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Strike Three, Jacob Wirth

October 18, 2010 at 3:39 AM (Food, Musings) (, , , , )

At this point I would like to point out that Jacob Wirth features a stunning beer selection, tasty rosemary chicken burgers and a nifty interior.  And that is every nice thing I have to say about it.  Too bad my one negative thing – in my opinion – far outweighs those three nice things:

The service sucks.  So much.

As a former Starbucks barista, I know that everyone in customer service has their bad days, and as a result, it takes a lot to irritate me as a customer. That said, Jacob Wirth has succeeded not once, but thrice in getting under my skin, and not in that enjoyable Frank Sinatra way.

A friend and fellow beer-drinker didn’t have to try very hard to convince me to check out a German beer house boasting countless brews that I couldn’t pronounce properly if you held a gun to my head.  We got there and at first glance, I thought I had found my metaphorical Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory, only better because, well, beer.

After sitting down at a bar table, it took a solid 15 minutes for a server to show up.  If only we had a menu to figure out what we wanted to drink first while we were waiting for her: once our server left to “give us a minute” to decide, we had another 10 minutes to pore over our options, and it really only took us two.  This process of our server being MIA for unreasonably extended periods of time repeated itself over the course of the evening.  My buddy was visibly irritated, but I withheld judgment.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m all for second chances.

But the service didn’t improve the second time.  Or even the third time.  In fact, I’m pretty sure the quality deteriorated with each visit.  Even when we got the “good” server – or so I was told (my fellow beer enthusiast has spent more time there than I) – I was amazed by not only the poor service, but how unapologetic it was.  The only time we saw our server more than once in a ten-minute window was when they were rushing us away from the table to another party could suffer.

It’s a shame because Jacob Wirth does have one of the most impressive beer lists I’ve ever seen in my short lifetime, but for me, it’s just not worth the frustration. If you have loads of time and patience, do stop in for a weisbier.  Otherwise, venture elsewhere.

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Beer and Cheese? Yes, Please!

June 27, 2010 at 10:13 PM (Events) (, , , , )

Not too long ago, my parents and I had dinner at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Boston’s Seaport.  While the meals were delicious, there are much more important items to discuss.

Like two of the greatest culinary gifts to mankind, for instance.  On July 21st, from 6.00 to 7.30 P.M., that very steakhouse will bebeer cheese hosting “Hoppy Hour,” a marriage of fine cheeses to Dogfish Head beers.  Can you say “Christmas in July”?

Admittedly I don’t think I would have paired the two on my own.  Both beer and cheese are capable of ridiculous orchestras of flavour, which could result in epic clashes of taste.  On the other hand, if a pro is going to put them together for me, then yes, I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant.

For $45.00 (including tax and gratuity), one will not only experience glorious beer and cheese pairings, but also a variety of Morton’s hors o’doeuvres: tuna tartare canapes and petite lamb chops with brie, for instance.  In addition, our hosts will be doing something nice (on top of the feeding us delicious food and beer bit): for every ticket sold, Morton’s will donate $5.00 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Beer, cheese, apps and a good deed.  What are you waiting for?

Tonight’s Tunes
“Blue Eyes,” Timmy Curran
“Wake For Young Souls,” Third Eye Blind
“Winding Road,” Bonnie Somerville
“So Long Sweet Misery,” Brett Dennen

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Re: American Craft Beer Fest

June 21, 2010 at 2:55 PM (Events) (, , )

Things I learned at the American Craft Beer Fest on Saturday:

If Dad only drinks Sam Adams Boston Lager and Oktoberfest, don’t bring him.

Don’t bring Mom.

That said, the event itself was pretty awesome.  Very well organised (with behaved attendees, to boot), and tons of delicious beer – er, I thought, at least.  Will I go next year?  Probably.  Will I mention it to my parents?  Probably not.

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